25 March, 2020
Let’s all remember that being neighbours isn’t prevented by a six-foot buffer.
A letter from Mark-André Martel, GREENPRINT, and the Martel team,
At GREENPRINT our focus has always been on the health, and the economic vibrancy of our immediate community in the Sud-Ouest. Quality of life is the measure we take when we boost and brag on our community, and on the brilliant contributions and businesses that our community creates and supports.
In that spirit: We will continue to solicit our neighbourhood for opportunities to contribute, amplify, and help.
Right now we all need to be generous. We need to reach out, as strange as that seems at the moment, given the need for “social distancing” (a term we will reject and replace with “spatial distancing”, as there is nothing less useful than breaking down the necessity of social closeness, especially now), and find who near us needs us. Each of us should focus on encouraging those who are at risk. That could be kindness and thankfulness expressed to the grocery clerk. That could be offering an elderly neighbour your ability to make a grocery run for him or her. That may mean getting canned goods or blankets to a food bank. Remember that those of us with homes are able to self-isolate. That is extremely difficult for those of our neighbours who have unstable homes, or none at all. If you are able, please consider supporting an organization helping battered women. Right now, there are home situations that are much harder to escape.
If you are the owner of a rental property: Please consider proactively approaching your tenants, especially if they may be financially vulnerable, and work out what you are able to, to mitigate their financial strain. Mortgage capital payments can be deferred for six months. Credit card payments can be deferred for six months. No action has been taken, thus far, to alleviate rent pressure. Please consider this: We are experiencing a demand crisis, for the moment. If we are kind, and we are generous, that demand will not only return, but surge, when this moment has passed. As citizens we are choosing to pause our economic activity for the benefit of those of us who are elderly, or have health issues. If we take this time to give each other leeway, we will come back to a functional economy, and a return to something normal, but perhaps more humane. If we allow ourselves to grasp at each other right now, we will come back to a recession, or even a collapse.
It seems that we can count on our elected officials to act with economic stimulus, but if we take more than we need right now, we will see our neighbours unable to support, for example, property values, our thriving small business sector, and the healthy rental market Montréal has worked so hard to develop.
To the current market and mood: We have had ample opportunity, over the past couple of weeks to speak with many of you, and many excited buyers and sellers. People are listing properties, people are selling properties, people are buying properties. Homes are needed and wanted. This is the way of the world. Our neighbours in the States have shown some mismanagement of this crisis, for which they can be forgiven, as they have a patchwork medical system. Canada, thankfully, has an effective healthcare model, whatever small faults any human institution is prone to. We believe this will continue to present Canada as a very attractive market for homebuyers bringing in outside capital, as well as outside investment in Canadian businesses, once this crisis has been averted. This will only bolster our economic prospects in Montréal, and Canada more broadly. Even in this crisis, it is clear that we are dealing with underlying strength in our housing market, as the number of sold properties, year-over-year, bears out. Between 18th March, and 25th March: Montréal properties sold, this week in 2019, 733; in this past week, in 2020, 544. Sud-Ouest properties sold, this week in 2019, 58; in this past week, in 2020, 34. Let’s make sure we foster this strength during this pause.
After this: When we all come back together, let’s take the moment to know that our strongest economy is local, our deepest care is local, and our best hope is our neighbours. And, with these things on our minds, we hope we will consider ourselves as members of a very small species, on a very small planet, with nothing but common hopes, and common cause with each human living with us here. People are trying to live, and work, and share large and small joys. Quantity is not quality. We are all human, or we are not. We are a species, or we are individuals alone.
We believe: Our society is capable of providing that no one falls down. We must love our neighbour as we love ourselves. We must be materially generous. We must also be generous in the smallest ways we can imagine.
We are: Available to our neighbours in Montréal, should the most vulnerable of our friends and clients require a grocery run, or a liquor run ;), or something we have failed to consider. If you are near us, and you need, please reach out. We will help.
If you become aware of any community initiatives which you think could use the amplification of the GREENPRINT Publication, or the direct involvement of the team, please reach out to us with that information.
514-439-7663 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sincerely, GREENPRINT, Mark-André Martel, and the team.
p.s. We’ll be shaking hands again before too long.
HEALTHY COMMUNITY. STRONG COMMUNITY.